UTEP Women's Basketball Notes / Game 15 / UAB

Jan. 17, 2008

UTEP Set For Showdown With UAB

The UTEP women's basketball team is set to take on UAB in a Conference USA showdown at 7:05 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center on Friday. Both squads are unbeaten in league play, carrying identical C-USA records of 3-0. UTEP, winners of eight straight, is 12-2 while the Blazers are 7-9, but UAB did play an extremely challenging non-conference schedule.

Get To Know UAB

UAB enters Friday's match-up as one of only three unbeaten squads in Conference USA (UTEP and Tulsa are the other). The Blazers have displayed an explosive offensive attack in their three league wins, averaging almost 80 points per game. It has been a balanced attack, with four players contributing double digits on average. All-Conference performer Diamond Rogers leads the way (20 ppg and 11.7 rebounds per game), but Crystal McFadden (15.0 ppg), Amanda Peterson (13.7 ppg) and Britney Jones (11.3 ppg) make UAB a very dangerous team.

Third Straight 2007 WNIT Opponent

Friday's game marks the Miners' third consecutive against a squad which earned a spot in the 2007 WNIT. UAB was 19-13 a year ago and advanced into the second round of the WNIT.

Series History Against UAB

Friday's game marks the fourth meeting all time between the two programs, with UAB holding a 2-1 lead. UTEP, however, is 1-0 against the Blazers in El Paso.

UTEP's History In C-USA Home Openers

UTEP is 2-0 since joining Conference USA in home league lid lifters. The Miners better be ready to play on Friday, though, if they want to move that mark to 3-0 as UAB is undefeated in league play and has won three straight games.

Home For A While

Friday's game against UAB marks the first of three straight Conference USA home games for the Miners. UTEP will take on Memphis on Sunday at 1 p.m. before a re-match with Tulane on Jan. 26 at 4:35 p.m.


It's A Good Thing, Too

While UTEP enjoyed its three road wins, it is certainly glad to be home for Friday's tilt against UAB. After the win against New Mexico on Dec. 30, the Miners stand at 6-0 at home on the campaign and have won 18 of its past 19 games in El Paso. The lone setback in the stretch came at the hands of SMU on Feb. 24, 2007, a game in the Miners were without two of its starters. Success in the Sun City is nothing new for Keitha Adams, though, as UTEP has racked up 48 wins the past four years at the Don.

Miners A Better Home Rebounding Team

While UTEP is 5-2 on the road, it has struggled in the rebounding department. The most recent example came when it allowed a season-high 23 offensive boards. Overall on the road, the Miners have a -5.7 rebounding margin. UTEP is a much better rebounding team at home, however, and that is where the Miners will play their next three games. Heading into the contest vs. UAB, UTEP carries a +9.5 rebounding margin at the Don Haskins Center this year.

Defensively UTEP Stronger At Home Too

UTEP is limiting the opposition to only 59.8 points per game in home contests this year compared to 64.3 ppg in road tilts.

Overall Miners Picking Things Up

UTEP has elevated its game since starting league play. The Miners are averaging 79 points per game, compared to 69.3 ppg in non-conference play. Defensively, UTEP is limiting opponents to 60.3 ppg, a slight improvement from the 62.2 ppg during non-league play. UTEP is shooting 48 percent from the floor (42 percent in non-conference action) while limiting the opposition to 36 percent (opposed to 39 percent in 11 non-conference tilts).

Miners Pick Up Votes Again

For the second straight week, the UTEP women's basketball team has secured votes in the ESPN/USA Today top-25 coaches poll. It marks the first time in program history that the Miners have received votes from a national poll in consecutive weeks.

UTEP Thumps Tulane, 81-66

Behind a school-record 13 three pointers, the UTEP women's basketball team rolled to an impressive 81-66 win at Tulane on Jan. 12. UTEP shot the ball extremely well, connecting on 43.8 of its chances. Included among that was a sizzling 72.7 after the break, which helped the Miners turn a three-point game at the half into a comfortable victory. Aiding the offensive effort was an unselfish attitude, as UTEP notched a season-high 24 assists.

Locked In From Three-Point Land

The Miners nailed a school-record 13 three-pointers in the win at Tulane on Jan. 12. Making the feat even more impressive is the fact that the Miners shot a good percentage. UTEP drained 13-of-24 for an effort of 54.2 from beyond the arc, which ranks as the sixth best in program history.

Hughes, Krezel Carry The Load

Jareica Hughes and Kasia Krezel nearly tied the previous school standard (11) by themsevles, as the duo combined to make 10-of-14 three-point shots.

Hughes Was Especially Impressive

Jareica Hughes was particularly impressive in the win at Tulane, going 9-of-10 (5-of-6 on threes) to equal the second-best single-game percentage by a sophomore and sixth highest overall in the 34-year history of the program.

League Office Takes Notice

Jareica Hughes' performance at Tulane grabbed the attention of the Conference USA office, as she was selected as the Co-Player of the Week. Coincidentally, Hughes shared the honor with UAB's Diamond Rogers, who the Miners battle on Friday.

Offensive Explosion

Not only did UTEP win at preseason favorite and defending conference champion Tulane on Jan. 12, but it did so in impressive fashion. The Miners shot a season-high 55.6 percent from the floor, including a blistering 72.7 effort in the second half, on the way to a campaign-best 81 points.

Double Your Pleasure

Thanks to Izabela Piekarska's double-double at Tulane, the Miners have now registered eight double-doubles on the season. Piekarska has achieved the feat a team-leading four times, while Timika Williams has done so twice. Jareica Hughes and Tasha Marisett have each registered one double-double.

Into Uncharted Territory Now

UTEP's win at Tulane was the school-record-setting fourth consecutive road victory. The previous standard of three had been achieved on three other occasions.

Eight Consecutive Overall

Overall, the Miners have claimed eight straight games. That feat ranks as the second longest in program annals, trailing only the 10-game unbeaten stretch that occurred last year.

UTEP Enjoying Second Long Win Streak

UTEP is certainly playing good basketball of late, as the Miners are riding a season-high eight-game. UTEP claimed four consecutive contests earlier in the campaign. In fact, the Orange and Blue have emerged victorious in 12 of their past 13 games.

Miners Soar In RPI

Thanks to the impressive win at Tulane, the Miners have climbed to a program-best 22nd in the RPI.

Off To Second-Best Start

The 12-2 start marks the second-best record through the first 13 games of the season. The 2006-07 squad holds the distinction for top mark through 13 tilts on the year, posting a record of 12-1. Last year's team eventually ran that mark to 14-1 and 17-3, both of which are the best for 15 and 20 games, respectively.

Putting It Into Perspective

The win streaks of four and eight games this year rank tied as the 10th and second-longest unbeaten stretches in program history. Additionally, it marks just the fourth time in program history that UTEP has registered two winning streaks of four or more games in the same season. The Miners also achieved the feat during the 1992-93, 2003-04 and 2006-07 campaigns. No squad in program history has ever compiled three separate unbeaten streaks of four or more games in a single year.

Three Straight League Road Wins

By winning three straight on the road in league play, this year's edition of the Miners joins the 1997-98 squad as the only teams in program history to reel off three consecutive road conference wins.

A First When Opening League Play

Thanks to sweeping the first three Conference USA road trip, this year's version of UTEP becomes the first squad in school history to achieve the feat.

Points A Plenty Past Three Road Tilts

The Miners have topped 75 points in three consecutive road games for the first time since the 1991-92 season when they did so in four straight games. Overall, it marks the sixth occasion overall in program history. Other campaigns in which UTEP achieved the feat are 1988-89, 1983-84, 1980-81 and 1976-77.

Not To Mention Large Margins Of Victory

UTEP has now posted three straight road wins by 10 or more points (18 point win at Houston, 23 point win at Rice and 15 points at Tulane) for the first time since the 1980-81 season and just the second time in school history.

That's All They Had Last Year

Not only has UTEP won three straight league road games, but in doing so it has equaled last year's squad that posted a record of 3-5 in eight C-USA road tilts.

In Case You Were Wondering

The single-season record for league road wins is four, achieved by the 2003-04 squad which was coached by Keitha Adams. The school standard for overall wins in a campaign is seven, accomplished by both the 1980-81 and 1992-93 squads.

Not To Get Greedy, But...

This year's version of the Miners stands at 5-2 on the road. It has a good shot at not only equaling the single-season standard for road wins (seven), but at also becoming the first team in the 34-year history of the program to compile a winning road record.

Not To Get Greedy Part Two

At 12-2 on the season, the UTEP women's basketball team is well on its way to a winning year. If the Miners are able to finish with a record better than .500, it would mark back-to-back winning seasons for just the second time in school history.

Piekarska Joins 1,000-Point Club

Almost overshadowed in UTEP's dominant win at Rice on Sunday as the fact that 6-5 senior C Izabela Piekarska became the fourth member of the 1,000-point club at UTEP.

Krezel Is Next

Fellow senior and country mate Kasia Krezel is almost a member of the 1,000 point club, as she enters the tilt against UAB with 964 points.

Hughes More Than Half Way There

Thanks to a stellar -point performance in the win at Houston, sophomore Jareica Hughes became the 33rd member of the 500-point club at UTEP. Her career total stands at 541 heading into the game vs. UAB.

Gaudy Career Numbers For Piekarska

By joining the 1,000 point club after the win at Rice, Izabela Piekarska is now the only player in program history to have compiled more than 1,000 points, 500 boards, 200 blocked shots and 100 assists.

Balanced Scoring Attack

Part of UTEP's success this year can be attributed to its balanced offensive attack. Entering the tilt vs. UAB, the Miners boast four players in double figures when it comes to scoring. Sophomore guard Jareica Hughes leads the way at 13.8 ppg, with senior Natasha Lacy close behind at 12.1 ppg. Kasia Krezel and Izabela Piekarska are also in double figures, checking in at 11.9 ppg and 11.8 ppg, respectively.

It's Been A While

You have to go back to the 1996-97 campaign to find the last time the Miners had four players average double digits in scoring for a season. In fact, it has only happened on three occasions in the 34-year history of the program.

Trend Still True In Conference Play

Through three Conference USA games, the balanced scoring attack continues to prove true. Jareica Hughes (16.7), Kasia Krezel (16.3), Izabela Piekarska (13.7) and Natasha Lacy (13.3) are all in double figures.

Five-Headed Scoring Monster

Going into the UAB game, the Miners' top five scorers (Hughes, Lacy, Krezel, Piekarska and Williams) have accounted for 801 of the 999 points scored on the year by UTEP. That is a mind-boggling 80 percent of the points on the campaign.

Krezel Hitting Everything In League Play

Kasia Krezel has elevated her game in C-USA action, especially with her shooting touch. The senior has drained 56.7 percent of her chances from the floor through two games.

Williams Is Too

Hard-working post player Timika Williams has also been a solid shooter in league play, draining 8-of-12 shots for a sizzling 66.7 percentage from the floor.

Lacy Shows Off All-Around Game

Through three Conference USA games, senior transfer Natasha Lacy has been nothing shy of brilliant. Lacy, who prides herself on an all-around game, has done just that in a trio of UTEP wins. She is averaging 13.3 points per game, to go along with 7.0 assists per game and 5.3 rpg.

Hughes Second-Fastest To 100-Career Steals

Jareica Hughes, who by the end of her career will be the member of plenty of exclusive clubs at UTEP, joined the 100+ career steals group after registering a pair of thefts against New Mexico on Dec. 30 Hughes, who needed 39 games to do so, became the second-fastest player in program history to reach the 100-steal plateau. Overall, there are 14 players who have recorded more than 100 career steals, with Terri Pedregon holding the school record at 210.

On Record-Setting Pace Too

Not only is Jareica Hughes racking up the steals, but she is doing so at a record-setting pace. The sophomore career average stands at 2.7 spg, which is tops in school history.

500+ Points, 200+ Assists and 100+ Steals Club Set To Grow

Six players in program history have shown enough all-around ability to comprise this club. Senior Kasia Krezel (996 points, 202 assists and 144 steals) just joined. Incredibly only a sophomore, Jareica Hughes (541 points, 199 assists and 111 steals) is one assist shy of becoming the seventh member.

100+ Three-Pointers Made

By virtue of her three triples against NMSU earlier this year, senior Kasia Krezel became just the third player in program history to make more than 100 career three pointers. Amy Billhymer holds the school standard with 208 triples, while Krezel (112) and Terri Powell (109) rank second and third, respectively.

200+ Assists and 100+ Steals and 100+ Three-Pointers Made

Kasia Krezel recently became the first member of this club, as her career numbers now stand at 202 assists, 145 steals and 112 triples.

Golden Age Of Miner Basketball

A program that has historically struggled, UTEP has come a long way in the past year-and-a half. The Orange and Blue are 34-10 since the start of the 2006-07 season. It is the best 44-game stretch in school history. In fact, UTEP has had only eight other stretches in the 34-year existence of the program in which it has posted a winning record over a 44-game period.

UTEP Program Has Come A Long Way

The UTEP women's basketball program has made plenty of strides since in the 2001-02 season, Keitha Adams' first year as head coach. Consider the following:

* The Miners have won 34 games the past year and a half. They were victorious only 29 times over three seasons from 2001-04.

* UTEP is ranked a Conference USA and program-best 22nd in the latest RPI report. It had an average final RPI rating of 201 from 2001-06.

* UTEP has become competitive with talent-laden teams while learning to dominate weaker competition. The Miners are 7-6 against top-100 RPI squads and 12-4 versus teams 100-199 since the start of the 2006-07 season. UTEP has gone 13-0 against teams in the 200-299 range in that time frame too. From the 2001-02 campaign until the 2005-06 season, the Miners were 10-32 versus top-100 squads, 20-38 against 100-199 and 20-18 when facing teams 200-299.

Difference Between Winning And Losing

While it is not the only factor, one area to look to determine the outcome of the game for UTEP this year is rebounding. The Miners are 9-0 on the year when winning the battle of the boards, 2-2 when failing to do so and 1-0 when rebounds are equal. That trend proves to be true during the Keitha Adams era, as UTEP carries a record of 52-27 when out-rebounding its foes compared to 31-69 when failing to do so.

Can It Be December Again

Although UTEP has gotten off to a solid start in the month of January, it is sad to be out of the month of December. The reason? Under head-coach Keitha Adams, UTEP is 28-15 in the final month of the calendar year. That is by far the best record of any month for UTEP during the Adams era.

UTEP Doing Just Fine

At 12-2 on the campaign there is no cause for concern. But if there are any worries about UTEP, keep in mind the following. The Miners' two losses have come by a combined 15 points. Moreover, both were at the hands of Big 12 powers (Nebraska and Kansas State) and were in hostile territory.

Hughes The Scorer

Sophomore Jareica Hughes has continued to be a strong scorer this year, while still running the offense. She has averaged a team-leading 13.2 points per game. She has cracked double figures in 10 of her 13 games played and has done so in 31 times throughout her career. Moreover, she became the 33rd player in program history to join the 500-point club at UTEP after her 18-point performance at Houston.

Lacy Loves To Share

Senior guard Natasha Lacy has done a tremendous job in many facets of the game this year. She has racked up 70 assists while committing only 50 giveaways. Lacy has also managed to do plenty of scoring as well, evidenced by her 12.1 ppg to rank second on the squad

Lacy And Hughes Steal The Show

Leading the charge defensively, especially in the steals department, have been Jareica Hughes and Natasha Lacy. The duo has accounted for 78 of the 149 thefts on the campaign.

Krezel Knows A Thing Or Two About That As Well

Kasia Krezel has certainly made her presence felt at the defensive end of the court since arriving in the Sun City. The senior has registered 144 career thefts, which ranks fifth all time in program history.

Williams A Beast On The Boards

Timika Williams has been a tremendous rebounder since arriving in the Sun City, and she is starting to compile some gaudy numbers. The sophomore has already pulled down 311 boards, and will crack the top-25 in program history by year's end. On the campaign, Williams leads UTEP with 7.3 rpg.

Williams Living On The O-Glass

Sophomore forward Timika Williams, who leads the Miners with 7.3 rebounds per game, has been especially impressive on offensive rebounding. Plenty of Williams' boards on the season (46 of 102) have been of the offensive variety.

Others Doing So Too

Timika Williams is not the only player to experience success in the offensive rebounding department. Entering the tilt vs. UAB, Izabela Piekarska has 31, while Natasha Lacy has 23 and Tasha Marisett has pulled down 18.

Pressure Defense Pays Off

UTEP has displayed a high-pressure defense this year, and the results have been encouraging. The Miners have forced 271 turnovers on the year. Aiding that figure has been 149 steals. That works out to 19.4 giveaways per game by the opposition.

Hard To Fathom

Given the amount of talent the Miners are blessed with this year, it is hard to figure out how they have committed 229 turnovers of their own.

Progress Has Been Made Though

The Miners have displayed the ability to limit turnovers this year, as they had a season-low 11 in the triumph at Toledo on Dec. 21.

Go Figure

UTEP is 6-0 on the campaign when committing more turnovers than its opponent and 5-2 on the season when registering fewer giveaways than its foes. The Miners are 1-0 in contests when turnovers are equal.

Get That Weak Stuff Out Of Here

UTEP has done a great job of defending the paint thus far, as the Miners have blocked 69 shots. At the other end of the court, the opposition has managed to block only 23 shots. Leading the block party has been Izabela Piekarska, who has swatted a team-high 36 shots. The imposing 6-5 center has paced Conference USA the past two years in rejections and ranks second in program history with 213 blocks.

They're Called Free Throws For A Reason

While UTEP has done plenty of things well this year, one area it has struggled with early on is its free-throw shooting. UTEP enters the game vs. UAB having connected on 68.0 percent of its chances at the charity stripe. The Miners have knocked down 170-of-250 shots at the FT line this year.

Offense Clicking On All Cylinders

UTEP's offensive output this year has been quite impressive despite its challenges at the charity stripe. The Miners are shooting a sparkling 43.6 percent from the floor, which has helped them average 71.4 points per game.

It's Early, But...

The points per game average of 71.6 would rank as the highest figure in program history. In fact, the 1980-81 squad is the only one in school annals to have poured in more than 70 ppg. It didn't hurt that Be Stoney, the all-time leading scorer at UTEP, was a member of that team.

Krezel Stepping Up

Kasia Krezel has done a solid job this year, as the senior is averaging 11.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per contest. The effort on the boards is especially impressive, considering Krezel's career average entering the year was just 2.4 rpg.

Recycled Notes

UTEP Wins At Rice For First Time Since 1991

Izabela Piekarska scored 19 points to become the fourth player in program history to top 1,000-career points, including 12 points during an incredible 29-0 run over the first 12 minutes of the second half to lead the UTEP women's basketball team to a emotional 77-54 win at Rice on Jan. 4.

Did That Really Happen

The 29-0 run to open the second half was simply incredible. The Miners were 10-of-19 from the floor in the stretch. Defensively, UTEP forced Rice into missing its first 16 shots of the period.

And It Was A Rout On The Road

UTEP's 23-point win at Rice was the largest margin of victory in a road game since an 85-54 victory at Nevada on Jan. 15, 2004. Additionally, it equaled the 11th-biggest win (in terms of margin of victory) in a road contest in program annals.

What A Scoring Outburst

The 48-point outburst in the second half at Rice marked the single-highest total in a half on the road for UTEP since a 53-point explosion after the break in the 80-62 win at UTPA on Dec. 4, 2001.

Clutch Free Throws Of A Different Kind

Reserve guard Christina Ray nailed a pair of clutch free throws in the win at Rice. They weren't pressure-packed because it was a tight game (UTEP enjoyed a lead of more than 20 points at the time). Rather, it was because her teammates were urging Ray to drain the shots for her mother, who was in attendance at the game. Ray, a Houston native, calmly drilled both to set off a celebration of sorts behind the Miners' bench.

C-USA Play Starts With High Note

Nothing could stop the UTEP women's basketball team on Jan. 4. The Houston Lady Cougars managed to slow the Miners for a half, but the effort was soon forgotten as UTEP bowled over UH in the second period en route to a convincing 79-61 win at Hofheinz Pavilion in the Conference USA opener for both squads. UTEP shot a blistering 58 percent after the break, on the way to blitzing the Cougars to the tune of 48-31 in the period to turn a close game into a rout.

Nothing New Under Adams

By virtue of the win at Houston, the Miners are now 5-2 in conference openers in the Keitha Adams era, including 3-0 in Conference USA. That is quite an improvement over previous coaches, as the Miners were 4-16 all time in the opening conference game prior to the arrival of Adams.

And It Came On The Road

Making the Conference USA opening win even more impressive is the fact that it came in hostile territory. Entering the tilt at Houston, the Miners had been 3-14 all time when playing its first conference contest on the road.

Long Time Since That Many Points On The Road

The 79-point outburst in the win at Houston marked the highest total in a road game for UTEP since Jan. 15, 2004, when the Miners rolled to an 85-54 triumph at Nevada.

Lacy Flirts With Triple Double

Senior guard Natasha Lacy nearly became the second player in program history to achieve a triple-double in the win at Houston on Jan. 4. The senior transfer racked up 18 points, to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds.

Miners Topple Lobos

Stifling defense and baskets at key times proved to be the difference, as the UTEP women's basketball team picked up an impressive 57-53 win against New Mexico. UTEP turned in its best defensive performance of the campaign, limiting UNM to a paltry 26.6 percent from the floor. The Miners weren't much better at 37 percent, but high effort accounted for 15 second-chance points for the Orange and Blue.

That's Quite A Win

Making the win against New Mexico even more impressive is the fact that the Lobos have been one of the top programs not only in the Southwest but the nation as well in recent years. UNM was coming off a 24-victory 2006-07 campaign and has eclipsed the 20-triumph barrier seven straight years. Moreover, the Lobos have been invited to six consecutive NCAA tournaments.

Win While Scoring In The 50's Rare

The 57-53 triumph against New Mexico marked the first time since the 2005-06 campaign that UTEP emerged victorious in the game when failing to crack 60 points. In fact, it was just the fifth time in the Keitha Adams era that the Miners have done so. In fact, UTEP had entered the tilt against UNM with a record of 4-62 under Adams when falling shy of 60 points in a contest.

UTEP Knocks Off Toledo

Timika Williams scored 10 points, including seven straight to spark an 8 -0 run late in the game, and the UTEP women's basketball team picked up an impressive 64-56 win at Toledo on Dec. 21. Izabela Piekarska also was impressive, with her second double-double on the campaign (15 points, 10 boards) while Jareica Hughes contributed 11 points and three steals to help the effort. Hughes had her most important points of the ball game on a three pointer with the shot clock at one to double the Miners' lead with 39 seconds remaining.

Homecoming of Sorts

The contest at Toledo marked a homecoming to a certain degree for five Miners. Jareica Hughes, Brittnay Jones, Stephanie Rosado and Timika Williams all hail from Michigan, specifically the Detroit area, while Alyssa Faubion is a native of Hamilton, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cincinnati. Needless to say, it wasn't surprising to see plenty of fans at the tilt.

UTEP Wins Third Straight

Led by Timika Williams' double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds), the UTEP women's basketball team dominated the boards en route to cruising to an 80-68 win against Prairie View A&M on the evening of Dec. 18. The Miners out-rebounded PVAMU to the tune of 46-31 and remained unbeaten on the campaign (7-0) when winning the battle of the boards.

Miners Roll Past Savannah State

Spurred on by hot shooting and stifling defense, the UTEP women's basketball team rolled to a 75-58 win against Savannah State at the Don Haskins Center on Dec. 16. Kasia Krezel, Natasha Lacy led the way offensively, with respective point totals of 15, 11 and 10. Lacy also dished out eight assists and had five steals to flirt with a triple-double. Claudia Porras and Timika Williams handled the rebounding with 10 boards apiece while Jareica Hughes fought through an illness to provide four points and five assists in 15 minutes of action.

Bench Provides Boost

One of the key factors in UTEP's triumph against Savannah State on Dec. 16 was the play of its reserves. The Miners received 32 points and 27 rebounds from its bench, with Brittnay Jones (10 points) and Claudia Porras (seven points, 10 boards) leading the way. It was a much-needed contribution from the Orange and Blue's reserves, as they had managed only 33 points and 27 boards the previous three games combined.

Miners Own The Glass

The Orange and Blue controlled the boards to the tune of 47-34, including a season-high 18 offensive boards in the win against Savannah State. Claudia Porras and Timika Williams handled the rebounding with 10 boards apiece.

How Sweep It Is

Jareica Hughes (14 points, 10 assists) and Izabela Piekarska (12 points, 10 rebounds) both collected double-doubles to lead the UTEP women's basketball team to a 64-57 win against its I-10 rivals New Mexico State at the Don Haskins Center on Dec. 8. Hughes, who matched her career high with the 10 helpers, was instrumental in UTEP closing out to the first half on a 9-0 run to take control of the contest. The effort afforded the Miners a seven-point lead at the break (37-30), and they did not trail from that point.

Miners Taking Control Of I-10 Series

By virtue of knocking off NMSU at home, UTEP has now emerged victorious in eight of its past nine match-ups against its I-10 rivals. Moreover, they have swept the season series for three straight years.

UTEP Falls Just Short At Kansas State

The UTEP women's basketball team suffered a hard-fought 66-58 loss at Kansas State in the championship game of the Commerce Bank Classic on Dec. 1. The Miners used an incredible 16-0 run over the first 8:56 of the second period to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit, but the Wildcats clawed back to pull out the win.

Miners Turn Up Heat Against UAPB

Jareica Hughes, Timika Williams and Izabela Piekarska each scored 13 points, and the Miners forced a season-high 30 turnovers as the UTEP women's basketball team steamed past Arkansas Pine Bluff, 73-56, in the opening round of the 13th-annual Commerce Bank Classic on Nov. 30. UTEP was dominant at both ends of the court, connecting on 47.4 percent of their chances while limiting UAPB to 39.3. The Miners converted the aforementioned 30 turnovers into 31 points and had an edge of 17-6 in second-chance opportunities.

UTEP Notches Dramatic OT Win At NMSU

Jareica Hughes drilled a three-pointer with one second left in regulation to force overtime, and the UTEP women's basketball team rolled in the extra period en route to a 72-66 win at New Mexico State on Nov. 30 . The Miners trailed 63-60 after Monique Bribiescas sunk a free three with 10 seconds remaining, but Hughes would not let the Orange and Blue lose. After UTEP inbounded the ball, Natasha Lacy raced up the court and found Hughes in the corner for the most important of her game-high nine assists. Kasia Krezel essentially put the game away, knocking down a long triple to afford UTEP a 70-64 advantage with 2:06 left in overtime.

UTEP Left In The Dark

A power outage in El Paso on Nov. 24 wiped out the championship game at the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic. UTEP and Nevada were ready to tangle, but it was not to be.

UTEP Knocks Off Cal State Fullerton

Four Miners turned in double-digit scoring efforts to lead the UTEP women's basketball team to a 78-71 triumph against an upstart Cal State Fullerton squad on the opening day of the Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 23. UTEP went on a 25-7 during a seven-minute span late in the first half to turn a six-point deficit into a lead they would never relinquish.

Miners Cruise Past Islanders, 67-52

Led by Timika Williams' 22-point, 12-rebound effort, the UTEP women's basketball team rolled to a convincing 67-52 triumph against a pesky Texas A&M-Corpus Christi squad at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 15. The Miners used a 14-0 run halfway through the second-half to break open the contest. Joining Williams in double figures were Kasia Krezel (13 points, seven boards) and Claudia Porras (11 points, two caroms), while Natasha Lacy effectively ran the point with a game-high five assists. The Miners, who were without the services of sensational sophomore Jareica Hughes, were effective offensively, connecting on 49.1 percent of their chances.

UTEP Passes Test

While UTEP would certainly like to have Jareica Hughes on the court this year, it was a good sign to see the Miners win without her. UTEP, which was 0-2 last year in games when Hughes did not play in, held off a feisty Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team by playing team basketball and turning up the intensity defensively.

UTEP's History In Home Openers

By virtue of the Miners' triumph against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, they have now won five straight home openers. UTEP is 5-2 under head coach Keitha Adams and 22-12 all time when doing so.

Miners Push Team China To The Limit

The UTEP women's basketball team gave the 10th-rated team in the world quite a scare, with the Chinese Olympic team squeaking out 77-75 win at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 9. UTEP had a shot to win it, but Natasha Lacy's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.

Battling For Boards

The Miners did a much better job against the Chinese Olympic team on the boards than they did at Nebraska on Nov. 9. UTEP pulled down 19 rebounds on the offensive end alone, which turned into 22 second-chance points.

Miners Fall In Hard-Fought Game At Nebraska, 81-74

Jareica Hughes led all players with 27 points, nine assists and four steals, but it wasn't enough as the UTEP women's basketball team fell at Nebraska, 81-74, in the season opener for both teams on Nov. 9. The Miners overcame a 14-point deficit late in the first-half to take a 41-38 at the break, only to have the Huskers rally for the victory.

No Quit In This Group

UTEP showed plenty of heart in the setback at Nebraska, as it rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half thanks to a 9-0 spurt and an 8-0 run to take a three-point lead into the break. Additionally, the Miners turned a five-point deficit early in the second half into a seven-point edge, before the Huskers rallied for the triumph.

Offense Does Its Job

UTEP's offense looked to be in fine form in the campaign lidlifter at Nebraska. The Miners shared the ball effectively, evidenced by 15 assists, and connected on 47.1 percent of their chances from the floor. They did have some issues with turnovers (16), but the Huskers only scored 14 points off those giveaways.

Rebounding The Difference In The Game

While UTEP did plenty of things well at Nebraska, one area they came up short in was rebounding. The Huskers out-rebounded the Miners 45-29, which included 16 caroms at the offensive end. The effort allowed Nebraska to out-pace by seven in second-chance points, which was the differential in the final score (81-74).

Hughes Puts Her Name In The Record Books

Jareica Hughes' 27-point, nine-assist effort at Nebraska marked just the second time in program history that a player registered at least 25 points and nine assists in the same game. Sharon Jackson is the only other individual to achieve the feat, doing so on Dec. 21, 1983, against Wayland Baptist.

Scores Career High As Well

The 27-point outburst in the season opener at Nebraska established a career high for Jareica Hughes, topping her previous standard of 24 points against Houston on Jan. 7, 2007. It was the 23rd double-figure scoring game of her career.

Lacy Solid In Debut

Senior guard Natasha Lacy turned in a fine showing in her debut with the Miners. The transfer from TCU scored 18 points to go along with four rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes of action. She connected on 8-of-14 from the floor, including 1-of-3 from three-point land.

Three Miners Debut Overall

In addition to Natasha Lacy, Sviatlana Trukshanina and Brittnay Jones also made their debut with UTEP at Nebraska on Nov.9. Trukshanina chipped in three points and a steal in 22 minutes of reserve action while Jones played three first-half minutes.

Krezel Does A Little Bit Of Everything

Senior guard Kasia Krezel filled up the stat sheet in plenty of categories in the setback at Nebraska on Nov. 9. Krezel scored 12 points (on 5-of-10 shooting), in addition to six rebounds, three assists and three steals in 32 minutes played.

Porras Provides Instant Energy

Senior forward Claudia Porras came off the bench at Nebraska to provide quite a spark for the Orange and Blue, especially in the rebounding department. The native of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, racked up four rebounds, two blocks and two points in only 16 minutes of action.

Williams Does Too

Sophomore forward Timika Williams also played well at Nebraska. She registered a team-best four offensive rebounds (six overall boards), while scoring five points and blocking a pair of shots.

UTEP Knocks Off Houston Jaguars In Exhibition Contest

Natasha Lacy drained two free throws with 1.1 seconds left to lift the UTEP women's basketball team to a 72-70 victory against the Houston Jaguars in an exhibition contest on Nov. 3 at the Don Haskins Center. Lacy had gotten to the line after slicing through traffic and drawing the foul as the clock wound down. After Lacy calmly converted the free throws, Kasia Krezel blocked a desperation three-pointer by the Jaguars' Brandi Jones to preserve the victory for UTEP.

Can We Have An Encore?

The 2006-07 women's basketball season was incredibly special for UTEP. The Miners established school records for wins (22), fewest losses (8) and single-game attendance on the way to taking a large step into turning the program into both a conference and regional power. This year's edition of the Orange and Blue has loftier goals, most notably playing into the postseason for the first time in program history.

Don't Expect This Group To Rattle

The 2007-08 edition of the UTEP women's basketball team is not one that will fold under pressure, as the Miners return four starters from last's squad in addition to a two seniors and a sophomore who will look to do work off the bench. Additionally, the Miners' recruiting class consisted of players who were winners at the high school level, junior college level and NCAA.

Much More Experienced

The Miners' starting lineup in its first game of the year against Nebraska certainly had a lot more experience than it did last year. Of the five players who started last year, three were making their first appearances at the Division I level. This year's initial opening five of Jareica Hughes, Kasia Krezel, Natasha Lacy, Tasha Marisett and Izabela Piekarska combined for 322 games played, including 218 starts heading into the game at Nebraska.

Challenging 2007-08 Slate On Tap For UTEP

The game at Nebraska marked the first of 12 games against teams which competed in some form of postseason play during the 2006-07 campaign.

National Spotlight Awaits The Miners

A demanding schedule is not the only thing that awaits the Miners in 2007-08, as they will make a pair of pair of appearances in nationally-televised games. UTEP will battle East Carolina on a Feb. 10 ESPN match-up at 12 p.m. and will challenge SMU on a Feb. 28 CSTV tilt at 6 p.m. Both contests will be held in the venerable Don Haskins Center.

Welcome Home, Natasha

El Paso native Natasha Lacy, who sat out last year after transferring from TCU, is eligible this year and is expected to make a big impact. The senior left TCU as one of the more decorated players in school history. She ranked among school leaders in scoring (11th, 945), rebounding (sixth, 579), assists (first, 456) and steals (second, 223). Moreover, she was the lone player in program history with more than 700 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists.

Hughes Tabbed First Team All-C-USA

2006-07 Conference USA freshman and newcomer of the year Jareica Hughes was selected to the All C-USA preseason team media day on Oct. 11. Hughes is coming off a fantastic freshman campaign for UTEP, in which she led the Orange and Blue in assists, free throws made and attempted, points and steals en route to being Moreover, Hughes was selected to the all-conference rookie and defensive squads, to go along with third-team honoree status.

More On The Sensational Sophomore

Jareica Hughes averaged 4.9 assists a year ago, which ranks as the second-best mark in program history. She also registered 2.8 thefts per game to check in sixth all time in program history. She scored finished with 78 steals, the most by a freshman in program annals, while racking up 137 assists and pouring in 362 points to check in second among freshmen in school history.

Don't Forget Timika

Timika Williams, who won a state championship in high school with Jareica Hughes, also had a fantastic first year in the Sun City. She paced the Miners in rebounds with 209, which is the second-highest total by a freshman and the 10th-best sum overall in program history. Williams also had 276 points (9.2 ppg) to rank fourth all time among freshmen.

Marisett's Motor Is Always Running

The most colorful player on the team this year is Tasha Marisett, whose high-energy output transfers to plenty of success on the court. The transfer from Panola Junior College had a solid campaign in her first year with the Miners, averaging 8.8 ppg to go along with 5.3 rebounds. She also had a team-high five double-doubles.

Plenty Of New Faces Too

6-2 post and junior college transfer Ilda Chambe, 5-6 guard Alyssa Faubion, 5-9 combo guard Brittnay Jones, 6-2 post Stephanie Rosado, 5-11 guard Sviatlana Trukshanina and 5-9 guard Joanna Zalesiak join Natasha Lacy to afford head coach Keitha Adams plenty of newcomers who bring lots to the table. Chambe registered 14 double-doubles while competing at Seward Community College, in addition to 28 double-digit scoring efforts. Faubion had a prolific prep career, scoring more than 1,000 points and notching three all-conference accolades. Jones averaged 20 points, four rebounds and four assists per game and was a two-time all-state honoree while Rosado is a no-nonsense player capable of a double-double at any point. Trukshanina is a pure shooter who can connect from anywhere on the court while Zalesiak is an all-around threat and a strong defender.

Miners Picked Second In Preseason Poll

The UTEP women's basketball team has been predicted to finish in second place in Conference USA in the upcoming 2007-08 season according to a vote by the league's 12 head coaches, it was announced on Oct. 10 afternoon by the conference office. It marks the highest placement in a preseason poll for the Miners in program history.
UTEP Athletics